The original Planet of the Apes came out in 1968, and the movie was such a success that by 1972 the franchise was already onto its fourth sequel, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. This new film involved simians rising up against their human overlords, and was set in the futuristic date of—get ready to feel old—1991.

The Century City mall, selected for its futuristic appearance, was a primary battleground in the plot. LIFE staff photographer Ralph Crane came to the set and took pictures of the costumed actors in the mall, trying on shoes and making eyes at the lingerie store display, as well as eating in the mess hall with their masks half off. The pictures make for easy laughs, capturing the kind of shenanigans that help liven up a fourth Apes film in as many years.

But when the movie came out, LIFE reviewer Richard Schickel was not amused. In the magazine’s Aug. 11, 1972 issue the critic lumped Conquest in with some other film sequels which hit the screens that summer and said, “They’re not really different from—and certainly not better than—their progenitors. Your response to what went before can safely guide you through, or better yet around, this new batch.”

Conquest was followed by the fifth and final film of the original run in the series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes. After that the franchise took a well-deserved breather on the big screen. In 2001 Tim Burton tried a remake with Planet of the Apes, with only middling results. But a 2011 reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, connected better with audiences, spawning its own run of sequels, though this group was, wisely, little more spaced out. The fourth film of this latest group, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, is slated to come out in May 2024.

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Scenes from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

A scene from the filming of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, at a mall in Century City, Los Angeles.

Ralph Crane/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

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